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What I’ve Learned Using Social Media App Timers

person holding phone while logging in on instagram application

Intentionally Well: Striving for Present Intentionality Every Day

I have been using social media app timers on my phone for about four months. And let me tell you, I have learned some things about myself.

Let me first start off by admitting that everything that was 2020 hurt my relationship with my phone. I will be transparent and tell you that scrolling and zoning out on social media became a coping mechanism for all the hard things.

This became my escape because I had cultivated my social media to be an uplifting space. In theory, this was a good thing. We all needed some way to deal with the stress we were all experiencing. When I was ready to scale my consumption back, I struggled to do it.

When Scrolling Became a Problem

I can’t say there was a singular moment when I realized I relied too much on my phone. It was a slow build-up. But one day, I had this awareness that I was missing it. My real life, my days, was passing me by. Honestly, friend, I think we all have those realizations occasionally.

It is so easy to be engrossed in what is happening on our phones, and we get these little gut checks that tell us we need to scale back. I had the gut check, but I had a tough time breaking the muscle memory habits I formed. It was hard for my brain just to be. I felt all squirmy when I tried to let my mind be still and quiet.

I realized my brain was constantly craving stimulation, and my phone is what I always reached for. Was I addicted to my phone? Here is an article published by CNN about phone addiction.

Implementing Social Media App Timers

Enter app timers! Did you know this is a feature on your iPhone? I honestly didn’t until I started researching them. To find your iPhone’s app timers, go to Settings>Screen Time>App Limits>Add Limit. From there, you can choose which apps you would like to limit your time on and what days you’d like to have the limits.

I used these timers on my social media and news apps. I am sure other phone companies have this feature, so feel free to let Google tell you how to access them if you do not have an iPhone.

What I learned

Every day I get pop-ups saying I reached my limit. And honestly, there are still days when I override my app timers. I do this for different reasons. Sometimes, especially with Instagram, my time is spent promoting this space or engaging with my community there. I don’t feel like that needs to be lumped together with the unhealthy scrolling habit I am trying to break. Sometimes I override the limit at the end of the day when I want a little extra time to laugh at funny Tik Toks.

However, many days I stick to my goal. Whether I override the app timers or not, having them in place brings awareness to my phone consumption. Do I need to check the news four times a day? No, I don’t, and I am better for it.

Furthermore, is it easier for me to leave my phone in another room? Yes, it is. That is something I am proud of because that was a struggle. I am still a work in progress, but I am making progress. And that is something to celebrate.

What do you think? Do you have a healthy relationship with your phone? Let’s chat about it in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends.


  1. Carly | My Green Toddler

    I have added a blanket timer on my phone that blocks all apps after 10pm but it really hasn’t worked for me ๐Ÿ™ It has just become like any other pop ups on the internet that I click past. I have found that leaving my phone in another room as you’ve said is most helpful for me.

  2. aroundthethicket

    The biggest thing that helps me is having a Better Than Social Media Book on the go. I’m much less tempted if I have a book to pick up where I just can’t wait to get to the next chapter. When I’m in a good rhythm with this, I can’t wait to put my laptop to bed (and with it my social media access) and get reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Emma

    I had no idea there are apps like this out there! I definitely spend way too much time on social media and I think this would help me put my phone down for sure!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Maureen

    What a great idea! I need to do this because I am way over my time limit. I know some influencer say to set an hour to engage with your followers but I donโ€™t think that is enough time at all. Lately, I am just stopping scrolling cold turkey but then getting back on it gives me anxiety. ๐Ÿ™

    Maureen |

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